Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program successful

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 29            July 26, 2001

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For two weeks in July, approximately 30 children from San Pedro participated in the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program led by a team of students from Smith College and the staff of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The children participated in many fun and educational activities including exploring and identifying mangrove and seashore habitats, conducting scientific experiments, recording their observations and creative writings in their personal journals, and creating craft projects. Aiding them with their writing skills was Associate Editor, Mr. Felix Ayuso Jr. of the San Pedro Sun. Mr. Ayuso was asked to give a presentation on the correct procedures of conducting an interview, in preparation for their interaction with program speakers.

    During the course of the program, two local community leaders - Miguel Alamilla, Manager of Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and Mr. Manuel Heredia, President of Caribeña Cooperative - spoke to the children about the local fishery and conserving the coral reef.   

    Students Adian Caliz, Cesar Cerpa Jr., Sherie Pou, Jason Chee, JayEiley, Apolo Caliz and Jose Rodriguez created an original play entitled The Barracuda and the Zooxanthellae that was performed for parents on the final day of the session. Students Cesar Cerpa Jr., a student of San Pedro Roman Catholic School, also wrote an original poem entitled Stingray.

    Mr. Alamilla presented prizes to the winners of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Poster and T-shirt Design Contest during the final day's celebration. Winners of the poster design contest were Luceli Guerrero, first prize, and Merlin Villatoro, second prize. The prize for the T-shirt contest was awarded to Guillermo Paz, with honorable mention to Warren Card for his slogan. Posters and T-shirts with the winning design will be available for purchase at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office in the near future. Students who attended the program at least five days, completed 10 pages in their journals and the assigned worksheets were awarded a "Coral Reef Expert" identification card. These "experts" were treated to a glass bottom boat trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve funded by Green Reef and Norman Eiley.

    The following are responses from some of the children to the question "What did you most enjoy learning during the program or from the speakers?"

Luis Alamilla: Coral makes sand in San Pedro. The parrotfish eat coral and make sand. Mr. Alamilla said there were corals bigger than him.

Apolo Caliz: I learned that they had lots of lobster 50 years ago.

Noe: I enjoyed the games, especially Turtle Hurdles, and using the net. You have to catch stuff, except the sea grass.

Adian Caliz: I enjoyed the stories and I learned a lot about writing.

Warren Card: I learned about conservation, and how to conserve the reef. I liked the field trips.

Anirdi Badillo: I liked to draw, and learned about the reef.

Leoli Jurado: It was fun, especially the art and learning things about the ocean and the reef.

Rene Reyes: I learned about fish-how they live, how they eat, when they eat. Mr. Alamilla protects the fish and takes care of them.

Samira Acosta: Sometimes there is trouble with the reef. We are supposed to take care of the reef because it is important to us.

Cesar Cerpa: I learned about the reef - how fish are important to the world because if there are no fish, there are no fishermen and, if the resources are low, no tourists would want to come to San Pedro. If one tourist comes, they will go home and tell other people not to come because we do not have the resources.

Sherie Pou: I learned about polyps. I learned that they are born, float in the sea and then find a hard surface and start the colony. They have zooxanthellae that give them their color. Turtles can lay over 100 eggs.

Rosangela Guerrero: I learned about the reef. It is beautiful and you should protect it, so that visitors will come.

Davelle Huber: I learned about the coral reef and things I did not know about fish, different animals and corals.
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